I am a Working Mummy of 4 Beautiful children. I have 3 handsome Boys including twins and a beautiful little Girl. I am writing this blog to share my journey as we experience Joy, Laughter, Tears and Tantrums and our attempt at holding it all together!
Ok, I know what you’re thinking…. But hear me out.
I remember the first time I was left alone with Leo after he
was born – well I wasn’t alone, I was on a ward with other women and crying babies,
and nurses, cleaners, receptionists and Doctors – but to me it fell like there
was just me and him, my tiny newborn baby-boy, I was the only one there to
protect him. I felt exhausted it was five in the morning, I had given birth to
him just after one o’clock, and I so desperately wanted to sleep, but I was too
scared; I was too scared to take my eyes away from him, he looked so tiny and
vulnerable, I was sure he would stop breathing, if I wasn’t awake to watch his
little tummy go up and down, or I was convinced someone would take him from
me if I closed my eyes for just a minute.
Later on that day, Leo and I were waiting to be discharged,
when one of the nurses told me to go and get lunch, it was been served in the
next ward meaning I would have had to leave Leo ‘on his own’. I was horrified
by the suggestion, if that had happened now, I would be skipping across that
hospital room shouting out for ‘someone to watch the baby’ but that day I went
without lunch and it was then that I realised that this tiny little human – who
had made me a mother less than twenty-four hours before – was the focal point
of my entire world. I vowed then, that I would always put Leo’s needs before my
own. He would come first no matter what.
I attempted to fulfil my promise and be a selfless mother
throughout the early years of Leos life… but did I always get it right and put Leo’s
needs before my own? Probably not, not all the time, anyway. As my brood grew
and I became a mummy of two and then four, so did the conviction of my promise,
putting the needs of my children before my own became second nature. I told the
world and his dog that my children’s needs were greater than mine or anyone’s
for that matter, and they came first, and I wasn’t shy about saying it to my
boss when I needed to take a morning off work to watch Leo run the relay race
on sports day, or when I had a phone call from nursery asking me to collect one
of the babies because they had been sick…
“I’m sorry,” I would say, “but they are my children and they
come before my responsibilities at work.”
I’m a mummy to four
little ones, what do they expect me to do?I would think to myself as I ignored the sideway glances of my
co-workers and shuffled as quickly as possible through the office doors.
I would come home and cry as I cradled a sleeping, sick
child, I felt guilty for leaving work early to care for them. I would stand on
the side-lines of a sports field attempting to ignore the pangs of guilt that
were born from anxiety, anxiety because I had let down my co-workers, my
friends. I had cancelled more nights out with friends because my kids ‘needed
me’ than, glasses of wine I had drunk in my twenties.
I made a promise to Leo, Millie, Max and Bobby the day they
were born, I promised them that they would come first, they were my number one
priority and if they ever needed me I would be there, and that’s what I was
doing I was putting them first.
I started university in September….
One Monday in November last year Bobby was sick, he needed
me…. My Mum looked after him so I could go to my lecture.
One Friday in January, Leo had a doctor’s appointment, he
needed me…. My sister took him so I could go to my lecture.
One Tuesday morning in March Max and Bobby had a ‘stay and
play’ at nursery, they needed me…. Mr S took the day off work and went along so
I could go to my lecture.
One Friday before Easter, Millie was sick, she needed me… My
mum collected her from school so I could go to my lecture.
Since September there have been numerous times when my
children needed me to be there for them and I chose not to be, I decided that
it was more important to be at a lecture or writing an assignment. I passed my
responsibility for them onto their Dad, their Auntie or their Nannar. There
have been lectures I have missed of course, for Bobby’s hospital appointments and
when someone has been very sick but most the time I have got someone to cover
my role – as Mum.
You maybe expecting me to tell you now that I feel guilty
about putting them second occasionally…. But I don’t feel guilty, and none of
us should feel guilty, if we occasionally don’t put our children ‘first’. We do
it to feed them, to clothe them and to ensure we have the headspace to preserve
our own mental health to be a good parent.
I don’t feel guilty because I truly believe that I am
working towards this degree as much for them as I am for me. I don’t feel
guilty because I have successfully (nearly) completed my first year at Uni and
everyone is still happy and healthy. I don’t feel guilty because, if university
has taught me anything, other than how much I love writing (even if it is crap
and waffle) it’s that the reason I felt like a failure and unable to juggle my
life, work, friends…. before is because I wasn’t juggling, I was cradling the
kids in my arms and was stepping over the rest of the balls that represented
the different parts of my life as they lay on the floor. And for some Mums
stepping over those balls and picking them up only when they want to, works for
them, and that’s great, that’s what they want to do and there is nothing wrong
with that, I’m a little bit envious of those Mums. Maybe one day I will give up
juggling … I don’t know, but for now, I’m getting pretty good at it, so will
carry on until the end of my degree at least……...
Sausage sandwiches, topped with hash browns and tomato ketchup for breakfast; chips and beans or a Big Mac for lunch; Dinner? Whatever my mum had left in the oven for me - my late teens were far from healthy. Add in the copious amounts of alcopops that I would consume on a Friday night and I could have been considered for one of the channel four 'fat shows'.
But a fat show contestant I was not, I was a size fourteen, nineteen-year-old, call-centre worker. I was chubby, unhealthy, completely unaware and I think I was happy. It was when I turned twenty and surrounded myself with a new group of gym-going friends, that I looked at myself and saw my body the way society would have viewed it - okay, but plenty of room for improvement. So that's what I did, I 'improved' it. I adapted a healthy (ish) lifestyle and before I reached twenty-one, my skinny arse was fitting comfortably into a pair of size ten, Bootcut jeans. I was far from happy with my new body though, I was throwing around the word fat more than I was smoking. I closely monitored everything I ate and would feel guilty if so much as a jelly bean passed my lips.
Over the years I would sometimes relax and put on a few pounds and then limit my calorie intake and do a bit of exercise to lose them again - which is what most of us do, right? In order to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle, we have to adopt a nutritious diet and indulge our limbs in some sort of physical activity? Following this way of living kept my weight at just over nine stone, in fact after giving birth to the twins, limiting my calorie intake got me down to nine stone, which was fantastic!?? I had four children and a virtually flat stomach, I welcomed the comments and congratulations from people telling me how good I looked after carrying four babies. But I still wasn't happy with my body, I wasn't happy with the lifestyle I had to live in order to maintain the body I wasn't happy with, I barely had enough time to sleep so going to the gym was out of the question. I hated not joining in with weekend pizza nights; I missed out on fish and chips when we took trips to the seaside; and summer barbeques just weren't the same when eating a green salad - so I stopped. I stopped watching everything I put in my mouth and as a result I have put on a few pounds over the last several months, and although I am not happy with my weight as a whole - I never will be happy with my weight - I am happy to carry around a few extra pounds, and this is why:
These extra pounds are Sunday roasts at my mums house with my family, me and my sister laughing and eye rolling at my mum's unorganised attempt to dish out dinner for so many people.
They're movie nights with the kids, watching Home Alone with compulsory popcorn and big bowls of ice-cream and strawberry sauce.
They're an Indian take-away to go with the laughs and story telling while sharing a bottle of wine with my best friends.
They're fish and chips by the sea, watching the twins dig for gold in the sand.
They're having a sneaky bite of Millie's candyfloss, while I hold it as she waves and giggles from the carousel.
They're taking the kids for pizza as a treat, to say we're proud of you!
These extra pounds represent my life, and I love it.
I am not suggesting everyone goes out and stuffs their faces until we are shipping in our clothes from West Virginia, but what I am saying is lets all be a little bit kinder to ourselves, eat the delicious food and embrace everything we do with our children, sweetshop visits and all. Life is just to short to cut out the things we enjoy. Yes we need to teach our children the importance of a balanced and healthy lifestyle, but that's the keyword - balance. We need to show them how to enjoy life, with no hang ups about food, we need to free our little people from the food obsession that has taken over our generation.
So this weekend let's order the pizza, bake a cake and eat the sweets. Let's embrace the wonderful joy of sharing delicious meals with our family and friends, and if you do feel a tad guilty about your expanding waistline, just neck a bottle of wine to ease the guilt.
I think it was Kate Moss who said "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"
I say "Kate, has obviously never had a chicken tikka Balti from Jalfrezi Express"
Congratulations! It's lovely to hear you're pregnant with twins.... Eeekkk!
I have twins, twin boys who are nearly two and a half. I know what a fabulous but scary time this is for you, so I thought I would write and answer some of the questions you probably have. No need to thank me, your welcome!
So you are probably still feeling very sick, this is apparently due to the double dose of pregnancy hormones taking over your body. Do not worry babe, this will go once you have given birth. Just try to make sure you are close to a toilet over the next few months, you will be throwing up a lot. When you are on the school run, may I suggest taking a carrier bag with you. Sticking your head out of the car door to be sick outside the school gates attracts odd looks from parents who assume you are hungover. The best carrier bags to throw up in are Dorothy Perkin's ones, they hold a lot of vomit, do not use Tesco carrier bags, the sick will just run straight through.
Speaking of toilets, you might find that you need to empty your bladder a lot more than you did when you were pregnant with a singleton. Sometimes you wont make it to the toilet and sometimes you wont even know your having a wee in your pants. Honey, let me reassure you, there is no need to phone your mum in hysterics. You have not got the pelvic floor of a ninety-year-old and you will not need an operation to correct your incontinence, since giving birth I have regained full control of my bladder - Most of the time.
I don't think I have mentioned how much I love, love, love your pregnancy pics. You look gorgeous!
It's great that you have had them done now because in a couple of weeks time that cute baby bump will be gone and in its place will be a bump that resembles a small planet covered in roads and tracks. Your family, your friends and people who are complete strangers, in fact it will be mostly complete strangers, who feel the need to stop you in the street, to inform you how big your bump is, just in case you hadn't noticed. 'Wow, how many are in there?' will become a frequent question. I'm afraid that you just have to get used to been stopped and questioned. Once the twins arrive this will happen a lot. You will have loads of personal questions, 'How were they conceived?' Is my personal favourite.
You are probably going to feel a bit down in the dumps towards the end of your pregnancy. Your pregnancy will have been a looonnggg road. A singleton pregnancy is nine months but feels like a couple of years, a twin pregnancy feels like a decade. Once you do finally give birth you are going to feel like a bit of a celebrity. Twin birth rooms are huge, you will be helped to change, you will have your very own midwife and wont have to share them with ten other screaming women, like you did during your singleton labour, and they encourage the use of drugs pain relief. Once you are ready to push those babies out, there will be a team of twenty strong staring into your vagina, but don't worry once the babies have arrived safely and start to cry these people quickly disperse (this becomes a common theme during the early months)
You're probably not going to like the next bit, I know I didn't but I feel the need to warn you! You will of course be head over heels in love with you little, mini rappers, but you know that cute pregnancy bump that you wish you'd had when you were lugging around that small planet.... Surprise, you have it! You will look like your about seven months pregnant with a single baby. This will eventually go but please, please, please do not go out in public without your babies for the first couple of weeks. I can guarantee if you do you will be asked when the baby is due, at least a handful of times. Team the tactless questions of strangers with post-pregnancy hormones and Jay Z will be in for a rough ride!
I am going to reassure you about leaving the house with twin babies. The first time is tough, you may be only popping to Aldi to do a quick shop, but you will feel like you are jetting off for a two week holiday thanks to the amount of 'luggage' you need to take with you. And although your first attempt to leave your house with the babies will take approximately six hours, do not despair, it now only takes me two hours to get everyone through the front door - I know, I'm good!!
One last thing....
I'm not sure if you drink? But you are going too!
Just a little word of advise, when people refer to wine-o-clock starting at seven, they are referring to 7pm not 7am. I have discovered 7am drinking when you are in charge of children is frowned upon!
This year one of my best friends of fifteen years is getting married. she's my fun friend, my party friend, the friend that I never meet for 'coffee' but the one that I have the most fantastic 5am wine fuelled memories with. The one that I went on girly holidays with and the one that I planned how to get out of sticky situations with.
So when she announced her engagement, my first question was, 'hen party??.' I was hoping to hear her hen party was going to take place in a fun and fabulous holiday destination, somewhere I could relive my pre-baby, carefree, girly holidays! So when I found out that Marbella was the destination of choice, I was not disappointed.
I am not however that single, carefree, twenty-something anymore, I have a whole suitcase full of mummy-guilt and four very valid little reasons not to go and enjoy what will probably be my only girly holiday of this decade; but I am also a very selfless and a very loyal friend and if the she wants me to jet off to Spain to spend three days dancing and drinking in the sun and leave my four little munchkins in the sole hands of Mr S, then I am prepared to put my own feelings aside and oblige.
So here our my top 5 reasons why us mummies should throw caution to the wind and join our friends on girly weekends away
The red carpet will be out on your return.
On the Friday morning your husband/partner/parent are going to get the children ready for the school run, they are going to be running on time and feeling quite smug, whilst wondering why you make so much fuss about this simple task. Once they get everyone into the car they will realise that someone has removed their underwear, someone has lost their shoe between the front door and the car, there is a peculiar smell of poo and the source is undetectable. They will be reminded that today is the deadline to hand in the twenty consent forms for school trips, the consent forms that have been eternally lost in the 'important paper drawer'. They will discover that the nine-year-old needs fifty-five pence for break time and he will not accept this in two pence pieces or a five-pound note, and the for year old needs her P.E kit, which will be half way through cycle twelve in the washing machine.
After dressing the children.... again, finding a shoe, changing a nappy , drafting their own consent forms, calling at the corner shop to buy another packet of mints for the bloody fifty-five pence change and convincing a screaming four-year-old that know one will notice when she puts on her brothers P.E kit that is five sizes to big. They will arrive at school five minutes late and be faced with the late register that offers a two centimetre space to explain the lateness, they will write, TRAFFIC, and then they will know why you drink wine. Throw in the chaos of the weekend that lies in front of them and on your return they will roll out the red carpet, fan you with ostrich feathers and beg you to never leave again. You will have gone from average mummy to Super Woman in seventy-two hours.
You will stick to your pre-holiday diet.
This is the one and only time you can guarantee that your going to give that bikini diet your best shot. Your best friend's other friends look like Kate Moss's younger sisters, you were kind of hoping that they had let themselves go after the last time you saw them and you could all stand together sporting your shapewear swimsuits with pride. No such luck! You have stalked their Facebook profiles since the news of the trip and these girls are serious, gym-going, hair-flowing, gorgeous model look-alikes. You are determined to get fit, you are going to give up Chinese take-away and buy yourself one of those snazzy cozzies, covered in holes, to pose in as you stand by the pool sipping a glass of prosecco.............oohhhh but that pie looks nice!
You're like Cinderella, you have to go!
Just like Cinderella put down her broom and went to the ball; you need to put down the hoover and the baby, pack a bag, put on some oversized sunglasses and get on a plane.
For three whole days there will be no washing, there will be no ironing, there will be no cooking, there will be no evenings spent looking for nits in your children's hair. There will be no disappearing favourite bear that needs to be found in order for you to actually sleep. There will be no sick or poo to clean up. There will not be one single bloody chore.
This is your time to shine, go and drink champagne in the sun and spend three glorious hangovers, chid free!
You will actually miss them and that's a good thing.
Although the idea of a childfree weekend sounds as pleasurable as bathing in pink Moet. The actual reality is you will probably start to miss your little munchkins as soon as you get into the car to leave for the airport. You will miss not checking that your baby is fastened into their seat properly, you will be crossing a road and miss not reaching down to grasp a little hand, you will walk past an ice-cream stand and miss the pleas and cries of delight. Their bedtime hour will creep up on you and while you're on your third cocktail you will be missing not being able to bathe them or put them to bed and you will be crying into your cosmopolitan at the thought of not reading them a bed time story. Your last day will be spent counting down the hours until you get to see them again.
No matter how much you moan about the constant routine of motherhood, a break is a great reality check to remind us how blessed we truly are.
When you are finally reunited with your little ones, there will be a blissful sixty minute reunion filled with kisses and cuddles and promises to never leave them again....until one of them breaks a bottle of your duty free and you make a mental note to start planning your next trip. The No.1 reason to go away on a girly weekend......
The only bum you will be wiping for seventy-two hours will be your own!
I don't remember exactly how pregnant I was with my daughter Millie when my sister announced her pregnancy. To our delight she revealed the news with a positive pregnancy test she had pulled from her bag.
I don't know what I said to her when she delivered the news or how we offered our congratulations.
I don't remember much about the hours that followed or how we celebrated the revelation of a new growing human.
What I do remember, was how I instantly knew, the knowledge of my little sisters pregnancy, was the most beautiful, perfect news I would ever hear.
The euphoria that I felt when I realised my unborn baby girl would have a cousin only six months younger - a lifetime friend and companion.
The elation as we worked out her dates and discovered that our unborn children would be in the same school year and our squeals of excitement as we planned how to spend our maternity leave.
I remember my little sister's face as she explained their plans for the baby that was growing inside of her. Her grin was wide, her eyes were glossed - the gloss that comes just before you cry with happiness and her cheeks were flushed and pink. She looked like she had just discovered the entire world was in her corner.
We thought the situation was pretty fantastic. Me and my little sister, pregnancy buddies, and due to give birth within months of each other. A perfect scenario that we imagined couldn't be improved, until at her twenty week scan she discovered that her little bean was in fact a little GIRL!
The last weeks of my pregnancy flew by and on Sunday, 18th November at 5:20 am, Millie made her appearance. She weighed a chunky 8lb 14. One of her first visitors was my sister - Manda - and her growing bump. I watched her hold and bond with my little girl and my excitement to meet my own niece grew.
The first few months of Millie's life seemed to go on forever and so did my sister's pregnancy; finally, exactly one day before Millie turned six-months-old and after putting my sister through a five-day-labour, my niece made her dramatic entrance into the world....... Daisy had arrived!
Now you probably expect at this point, for me to tell you about the first magical meeting between myself and Daisy. You may be expecting me to describe her as perfect and explain how I heard angels sing when I first held my niece.......... That's not the case!
When I first met Daisy I did look at her and think her doll like features were perfect. She did look like an angel, but, when I first held her.....Oh. My. Life! She screamed harder and louder than I have ever heard a new-born scream. She screamed and she screamed until I gave her back to her parents and then she stopped!! So I tried to hold her again and again she screamed until I gave her back.
"She's tired" we all agreed.
"She's probably hungry" we said.
I left after not getting to know my new niece very well.
Over the next few weeks I had ample opportunity to cuddle and bond with Daisy; although she never screamed as loud as that first time, she would always cry, fidget and moan until I handed her back.
As she grew, things between us got worse....
She started to smile, but not at me.
She started to laugh but not in my direction.
She started to speak but the only word she would say to me was 'NO' and would often follow it with an unexpected whack in the face with a doll or toy hammer.
Just before her first birthday she started to frown at me, yes, this 11-month-old frowned at me!! She has frowned at me ever since!
She refused to kiss or hug me unless I bribed her, and we're not just talking a bag of jelly beans. This three-year-old wants diamonds, fake ones, but diamonds none the less.
I had almost given up hope and my dreams of been a 'cool aunt' to this little girl were starting to fade, when we had a small breakthrough. Daisy referred to me as 'her little piggy'. Now I wasn't overly impressed with been called a pig but knowing that she referred to me as 'hers' gave me hope. She could have referred to me as 'her little bitch' and I would still be happy.
Little Miss Daisy
I will take being your 'little piggy', I will take being anything, if I am 'yours' and part of your life. No matter how much you pretend to dislike me (I hope that it is pretend), I will always love you.
Millie and Daisy
I love the way that every time I look at your brown pigtails and dark eyes, I'm transported back to my childhood and I'm looking at your mum.
I love that you have the attitude of a teenager and so much confidence to speak your mind.
I love how stubborn and sassy you are.
I love how much you make us all laugh with your fantastic one liners.
I love your little wiggle and the way you flick your hair.
I love the way you dance and perform with more passion and enthusiasm than someone three times your age.
I love that you are my little girl's best friend, that you hug her when she cries, that you hold her hand when she's lonely and that you reassure her when she's scared.
I love you Little Miss Daisy.
From your 'little piggy'
......And luckily for me, seven months ago my sister gave birth to a very beautiful and huge baby boy, he smiles at me constantly and laughs at my every word, so even if Daisy does hate me forever I still have a shot at been a cool auntie. Ha!
The horror of December 1st more specifically children's Christmas card lists!
The crumpled, tatty lists of endless names delivered to unsuspecting parents around December 1st. Usually transported to us via book-bags or lunch-boxes,for the less fortunate among us the lists are usually found along with snotty tissues inside a trouser pocket after its been through the wash.
Our children thrust the list upon us with the same urgency as we have when heading for the wine aisle on a Monday Friday evening. Insisting that they need to write Christmas cards for the class that contained thirty children yesterday but somehow manages to produce a list of a thousand recipients.
So during our next lunch hour we make our way to Poundland and purchase one thousand 'high quality' Christmas cards - the size of teabags - for 99p. We feel very pleased with ourselves, we can cross off a 'to do' from our Christmas 'to do' list, but at the same time wonder how our childrens handwriting, that's on the same scale as the Hollywood sign, is ever going to fit in the small cards.
We should never have worried about our children's handwriting, after getting half way through writing 'To Alfie' they develop the need to: eat/play/sleep/poo/draw a picture of next doors cat/seek medical attention/other (delete as appropriate). So as parents we step up and spend the next ten hours writing cards for a thousand three-year-olds that can barely read their own name. The Christmas card list gets lost, we panic, we can barely remember the names on the list never mind how to spell them, so we spend the rest of the night stalking facebook profiles to retrieve correct spellings only to accidentally like Henriettes christenining photos from 2013.
Eventually they're completed, a stack of Christmas cards waiting to be distributed by our little ones. We're very proud of ourselves for being organised and imagine this is how the perfect, smug parent brigade always feels. That is until our children bring home their first batch of Christmas greetings; a Harrods card from little Tommy that is decorated with the actual Gold from the stable and a home made masterpiece from Lucy whose mum is obviously a blue peter presenter.
The 99p cards are scrapped and quickly replaced by the more luxurious Tesco's finest (the ones we were saving for emergencies) and a batch of santa stickers to add a bit more originality. They eventually get sent into school with our very excited children who are eager to spread Christmas cheer to their thousand best friends and we breathe a sigh of relief.
Over the next couple of weeks our children receive hundreds of teabag size cards that we store in the glove box of the car, behind the toaster or on top of the fridge; we promise that we will get a card holder (piece of string) and display them all in pride of place above the fireplace (radiator in our case) Christmas gets closer and the pile of cards, some unopened (the shame), gets bigger. Eventually the start of January arrives and they all get chucked out with the dead tree!!
The January blues are well and truly growing roots and we think things cant get any worse...
We open our Children's bags the night before school starts and as well as discovering a homework assignment that looks like it was influenced by Lucy's Mum; we also find one thousand of Tesco's finest Christmas cards!!!
They were your exact words as you shook your head in annoyance when one of my two-year-old twins climbed onto the shelf in front of you to get a better look at the cuddly Santa.
'Rather you than me!'
You declared as you watched my little boy announce to the store 'my Santa'. You stood staring at him for a few seconds giving you plenty of time to form your opinion about his questionable behaviour.
'Rather you than me!'
Your words when you saw me running towards him with sheer panic etched onto my face because I had actually lost site of him when I made the decision to chase his twin brother who was heading for the exit.
'Rather you than me!'
Your words rang in my ears as I attempted to hide my anger at my own stupidity - I had given up looking for a double trolley and convinced myself that my boisterous two year olds would walk around the store like sensible adults.
'Rather you than me!'
Your judgemental tone multiplied the effects that tiredness was taking on me. Tiredness due to the relentless nature of motherhood, sleepless nights, university lectures, money managing, after-school clubs, washing, cleaning, homework, the list is endless.
'Rather you than me!'
The words that on Friday evening, had me questioning my ability to parent my children, my ability to 'control' them in public, my ability to keep them safe.
'Rather you than me!'
A phrase that rattled around my head for hours following our brief meeting. A phrase that told me that my twin boys, my life as a parent of twins, was so awful in your mind that you had to let me know about it.
'Rather you than me!'
'Rather me than you'
I would rather have a hundred disastrous supermarket visits than miss out on a second filled with double hugs and kisses.
I would rather chase them - giggling - around a thousand stores than have never experienced that single, life changing, magical moment that changed us forever. The moment we discovered there was two of them.
I would rather spend the rest of my days questioning my ability to parent than miss a minute witnessing their inseparable bond.
I would rather die than miss out on being the mother of my two perfect, mischievous, loving twin boys.
And I do believe my children also agree, they would rather have me than you too!
The crazy lady with naughty twins who looked like she was about to cry.